Sydney, Dec. 22 (ANI): New South Wales opener Phillip Hughes is all smiles these days after being recalled to the Australian squad for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan in Melbourne.
Hughes has been called up as a standby for Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.
His inclusion in Australia's 13-man squad proves the selectors still hold him in high regard, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
''I can't wipe the smile from my face. I only found out a few hours ago. I got the call and was just pumped. It's been in the back of my mind. The last few games I've gotten 50s, 60s and 70s, but this week was the lucky week," Hughes was quoted, as saying.
''I was going to head back to Macksville to see the family for a couple of days, but I'll be in Melbourne for a few days now. I can't wait to get back with the squad and getting amongst all the boys,'' he added.
Selection chairman Andrew Hilditch, however, dampened Hughes's excitement at the prospect of playing his first Boxing Day Test by saying that Ponting was likely to be cleared by medical staff.
''While Ricky Ponting is expected to be fit for the Test, the NSP [national selection panel] has picked a squad of 13 players for the match so there is adequate cover in the event that Ricky Ponting does not recover as quickly as is hoped,'' Hilditch said.
''The NSP has taken the opportunity of including Phillip Hughes in the squad given his exciting debut at international level against South Africa, his recent form in Sheffield Shield cricket and our view that he will be an important player for Australia moving forward,'' Hilditch added.
Regardless of whether he makes the XI, Hughes's confidence has been swelled by the show of faith from Hilditch and the selectors who unceremoniously dumped him during the Ashes series.
He thanked Blues captain and Test opener Simon Katich for helping him fight back.
''Simon Katich has been good to me. He's played nearly 50 Tests now. With what happened to him in the Ashes nearly four years ago, getting dropped, going back to state cricket and dominating there and getting back into the Test side, he's been great for me. Guys like him are the ones you look up to,'' Hughes said.
Australian squad: Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke, Doug Bollinger, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Clint McKay, Marcus North, Peter Siddle, Shane Watson. (ANI)